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This is a fantastic straw hued Soave (Garganega) from the mother-daughter team at Adalia in the Veneto. Crisp and dry with a hint of grassy texture and a long mineral finish. Eben Lillie
Agnanum refers to the volcanic crater Agnano where Rafaelle Moccia grows Falanghina planted in steep terraces in the formidable area of Campi Flegrei. To our fortune, Rafaelle embraces the task and manages to preserve the 60-200 year old vines grown in the ancient ash of western Naples. Hand harvested then slowly fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel, no sulfur added at bottling. The result of his dedication, and perhaps the cooling winds from the Tyrrhenian Sea, is a wine that is surprisingly light on its feet. Golden straw in the glass, white flowers and citrus on the nose, flavors of smoked tropical fruit and sea salt are balanced by layers of lingering minerality. Pair with small squid tossed with grated lemon zest, fried in olive oil, garlic then seasoned with black pepper and parsley for your next Symposium! Amanda Bowman
After working in Franciacorta as consultants for a few years, Giovanni Arcari and Nico Danesi started their own label in 2006. They now have 12 hectares just outside of Coccaglio (limestone and clay) and Capriolo (silt and clay), averaging between 150-330m above sea level. The Dossagio Zero is 100% Chardonnay from vines planted between 1985 and 2008. Even though it says NV on the bottle, the base wine is from the 2012 harvest. The first fermentation takes place in stainless steel using only native yeasts. The second fermentation takes place in bottle, using native yeasts and grape must (not sugar), spending 31 months on the lees. The result is a bright and beautiful fruit-driven sparkling wine. Straw yellow in color, with an intense nose of apples, lemons and refreshing acidity, perfect with grilled pork and fennel or even a mushroom risotto. Or just keep it simple and grab some prosciutto with parmigiano and melon. Jamie thinks it goes with everything. Christine Manula
From an estate that dates back to 1785, the Bera family farm organically and make wine in a low-interventionist manner. This white is made from Favorita, Arneis, Cortese, and Sauvignon Blanc. The 2015 is ripe and complex with lovely aromas of lime-flower and honeysuckle, with white and yellow fruits and almond. The palate is supple and pretty with the lush fruit balanced with refreshing acidity. Really a lovely and versatile wine that is a delicious aperitif and will pair well with fish and chicken in sauce, Asian foods and mild cheeses.
Crivella is made with fruit from Bianco’s oldest vines, including some planted in the mid 1800s by Riccardo’s great-great-something grandfather; such old vines are extremely rare, and while they produce very little fruit, it’s impossible for Riccardo to even think about replacing them. At a tasting in the shop a customer said, “Like Sauternes with bubbles!” which was a lovely way to describe the wine and its rich and unctuous character. made lively with fizz. While there’s no botrytis, Crivella is much more complex and detailed than all but the very best Sauternes. I’ve certainly never tasted anything like it — a stunning wine. Jamie Wolff Moscato d'Asti is usually a fairly light and simple affair, but this bottling has gravitas to stand up to the most complex, aged cheeses. If an old Stilton and Port sounds a bit much, try this invigorating Moscato for a bit of a lighter approach. John Rankin
I’ve been trying to figure out Arneis for years now. I know I like Brovia’s version, but I like all things Brovia. My impression is that Arneis is a fairly subtle and undramatic grape, and it’s therefore easy to skew its profile – almost all Arneis is produced with selected yeasts, which produce uniformly adequate but dull wine. On top of that it’s very easy to overdo it with wood, an common thing when it comes to the ‘riservas’ or top of the line bottlings, whatever they call it. It must help the Chiesa Arneis that it is fermented in stainless steel with indigenous yeasts; there’s some light batonnage until malo. It’s lively and bright, quite savory and chalky/mineral; it’s very vinous and clean with rich underlying texture, and has compelling dry honey and pear flavors that are a bit reminiscent of Chenin. By far the most interesting Roero Arneis I’ve tasted. Jamie Wolff The vines for the Roero Arneis were planted in 1960 on sandy soils with a southeast exposure. Aged in stainless steel for 6 months, the wine is bright straw yellow and has persistent flavors of green apples, stone fruit, and white flowers, with just a touch of honey. Would pair well with light pastas, fish / shellfish, antipasti, or even a mild curry. Christine Manula
After graduating with a degree in Economics in 2003, Francesco decided he wanted to make wine and found a farm in the foothills of Abruzzo where his family was originally from. The first time he saw Agricola Cirelli he fell in love. It’s now an organic farm where there are vineyards, olive trees, garlic, spelt, wheat, barley, figs and geese. Francesco has two hectares of Trebbiano that are grown on calcium and clay soils. Both fermentation and aging are done in stainless steel, and the wine is not filtered or fined. The wine is straw yellow in color and tastes of waxy green apples, pear and cured lemon peel. Try it with shrimp and orzo salad, Vietnamese food or even a veal schnitzel. Christine Manula
Organic farming (certified), organic wine making (certified vegan), almost no SO2 added; all this yields a fresh and dry Prosecco - nothing funky about it, just a very good and delicious wine at a fantastic price!
Bettigna Vermentino is a classic example of the grape from a region known for Vermentino (or is it known for Pigato?): the Colli di Luni straddling the border of Liguria and Tuscany. Fairly deep and golden in the glass, the nose is dense with ripe stone fruit and golden apples with subtle notes of honeysuckle and thyme and a whiff of zesty citrus. Medium weight on the palate with real focus, the acidity and mineral tones of the wine make the fruit seem leaner but in a refreshing way with a saline and slightly bitter finish. Fairly bracing by itself, the wine shines with food; it would suit flounder simply fried, skate with pesto, or any delicate fish quite well. Andy Paynter
According to history, the Camaldolese monks started making wine in the area of San Michele back in 1186. Today La Marca carry on that tradition of making Verdicchio in Le Marche, the eastern Italian region that sits between the Apennine Mountains and the Adriatic Sea. Their vineyards are located on hills of clay and limestone soil 350-400 meters above sea level. The wine stays on the lees for a minimum of six months and is fermented and aged in stainless steel. The result is a medium-bodied full-flavored white, ripe with stone fruit, citrus, herbs and a touch of honey. Try it with roasted flounder, scallops, mushroom risotto or roasted chicken. And if you are looking for a white to age, this would be a perfect candidate. We just opened the 2012 which was still extremely fresh and lively, but rich with dried apricots and honey. Christine Manula
La Stoppa’s Ageno cuveé is named for the original founder of the estate, Giancarlo Ageno, who planted the first vines here in the 19th century. Those cuttings, originally all french varieties, have since been replaced by varieties indigenous to the region in a process that also saw the estate convert to organic agriculture beginning in the 1990s. While certainly not made with the french varieties planted 100 years ago, the Ageno Bianco is a stunning wine. Primarily Malavasia di Candia Aromatica blended with Ortrugo and some Trebbiano, the wine is macerated for 30 days on the skins, rested for a year in a mix of stainless steel and old barrels followed by two years in bottle. The color is striking, showing deeply bronze and slightly turbid with some sediment, but still quite vibrant. The nose is, as you might expect from a grape called Aromatica, intense with deep ripe Cara Cara oranges, layers of baking spice and mid-bloom apple blossom with hints of honeycomb. The palate is dense, and there is a nice balance of fine-grained tannin with refreshing acidity. The wine is bone dry but not austere or astringent with very ripe citrus fruits, juicy yellow peaches and a long finish. Recently enjoyed with shrimp scampi, this wine would pair well with rich but not oily fish: think scallops seared in butter, monkfish torchon, or squid. Serve very slightly chilled and enjoy. Andy Paynter
Timorasso is a golden-colored grape from Piedmont's Colli Tortonese. Aside from Gavi and Moscato, Piedmont is not well known for white wines, and Timorasso has a bit more richness and weight compared to most white wine grapes. There's a bit of spice and an almost nutty character that complements marmalade and orange fruit tones. This wine is very interesting to try as an example of an heirloom variety that almost went extinct, and it is extremely capable at the dinner table for anything from seafood, Middle Eastern food, or rich pastas. John Rankin
The 2014 Sant’Erasmo Bianco is a striking wine grown on the island of San Erasmo within the lagoon of Venice. Premised on Malvasia Istriana but comprised of a number of other local cultivars all planted on its own root stock, the wine is deeply colored in the glass, with a nose reminiscent of ripe golden apples and honeysuckle undercut by a salty tone. The palate is bold, with an initial attack of juicy orchard fruit and rich texture, followed by a honeyed note giving way to a long savory finish. More than anything else, the Orto shows a stern backbone of minerality bracing its mellow acidity and weight on the palate. I served it with shrimp cooked with their own stock and butter, but this wine would pair beautifully with anything out of the sea, soft cheese, or rich vegetable dishes. Open early and serve slightly chilled. Andy Paynter
The 2014 Pinot Grigio from Ronco Severo is a beautiful wine that challenges neat and tidy wine categories. Technically it is an orange wine made from late harvest Pinot Grigio, which is fermented on its skins for about a month, gently pressed, and then raised on the lees for an additional 23 months. However, because Pinot Grigio has much more pigment in the skins than other white grapes, the extended skin contact causes it to look and drink like a very light red wine. Lightly ruby in the glass with a touch of orange at the rim, the nose shows startling complexity with layers of burnished red fruit, nectarines, soft yellow florals, citrus zest, and slightly nutty tone. The palate has some density with very soft fine tannins and lifted acidity with red apple skins, mandarin oranges, and considerable minerality. Definitely not a simple Pinot Grigio! This wine would pair well with traditional Thanksgiving fare, especially mashed potatoes and gravy or green bean casserole. Don't be afraid to try it on day two with a turkey sandwich if there is any left after the feast. Open early and serve with a slight chill. Andy Paynter
Famoso di Cesena, a native grape of Romagna, was first documented in 1437 but had all but disappeared by the early 1900s. In 2000 two old rows of vines were spotted in Mercato Saraceno (Forlì) and the owner knew it was Famoso. Today the grape is being revived by a group of winemakers who are convinced that the unique features of this grape variety should not be lost. Davide and Mauro at Villa Venti are growing Famoso on red clay and Messinian-age sand. Serenaro is fermented in stainless steel and aged six months on the lees then matured four months in bottle. No added yeasts and minimal sulfur is added. The result is a very aromatic wine with floral/lavender notes and hints of dried fruit. On the palate, it’s refreshing with citrus peel and nice minerality. Perfect with fish, fresh cheese and all'ascolana (fried stuffed olives). Christine Manula Just last night we opened a bottle of Serenaro at home - it had been a while (and I'm not sure my wife had never tasted it) - and it was stunning. We had seconds, and thirds, and then the rest - not usually the pattern since my exuberant glugging is usually balance by my wife's more modest consumption, but she loved the wine. And it was incredible with the clams I'd bought from Alex at Blue Moon - it was great to see them back at the market! I made risotto - Vialone Nano rice (about 1.5 cups), 2 dozen steamed and chopped clams, one clove of garlic, 1/2 chopped red onion, a TON of chopped parsley, and about a cup of cooked sweet corn. I sauteed the garlic and onion in olive oil with some Espelette pepper (ground, that is) and used the broth from the clams stretched with vegetable stock. The whole thing took 30 minutes and with the Serenaro it was... I think the technical term is killer. Welcome back Captain Alex! Jamie Wolff
Anna (Australian) and Eric (French) starting making wine together back in 2008, and now own six hectares on Etna’s north face which they farm organically. Although they could be considered “outsiders”, they have a deep appreciation for preserving the land and traditional Sicilian wine making practices. They have restored a Palmento on their property and they are also working diligently to revive and replant vineyards that have been abandoned or neglected in some of the highest elevations of Etna Park, not an easy task. Their Bianco is made from a field blend of 60% Grecanico, 30% Carricante, 5% Malvasia (from the island of Salina) and other Indigenous white grape varieties.